November Is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness among adults? According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (www.aao.org), approximately 24 million people in the United States have diabetes and nearly one-quarter of them do not know it.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness among adults, and people with diabetes are 25 times more likely to become blind than people without it. By detecting and treating diabetic retinopathy early through annual, dilated eye exams, people with diabetes can preserve their sight.
People with any type of diabetes can develop hyperglycemia, which is an excess of blood sugar, or serum glucose. Although glucose is a vital source of energy for the body's cells, a chronic elevation of serum glucose causes damage throughout the body, including the small blood vessels in the eye.
With nearly 26 million children and adults in American living with diabetes, and another 79 million at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, the disease is taking a devastating physical, emotional and financial toll on our country. Yet, most Americans don't consider diabetes a serious matter. They feel it is someone else's responsibility; someone else's problem.
Recent numbers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paint a desperate situation of where we are at, and where we are headed:
Every 17 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.
Rally individuals, communities and families to Join the Millions in the movement to Stop Diabetes. For 2011, the American Diabetes Association asked individuals to take a pledge and raise their hand to Stop Diabetes.
On Nov. 14, the Association joined Katie Couric, Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Colin Quinn, Suze Orman, Wolf Blitzer and other familiar faces to pay tribute to American broadcasting legend Larry King at the Friars Club.